Thursday, December 31, 2009

U.S. Census Bureau: 308 million Americans will ring in 2010

From the U.S. Census Bureau:

On this New Year's Eve, some 308 million Americans of all ages are ready to greet the year 2010 -- the year of the nation's 23rd census. A hundred years ago, the U.S. population was 90.5 million -- fifty years ago, it was just over 177 million. To show how fast the nation is growing, by this time tomorrow, there will be more than 12,000 new babies on hand to welcome the new year. Tonight's celebration will see many of the 180,000 musicians and singers in the U.S. entertaining crowds in night clubs, bars, and restaurants across the country. Also on hand will be most of the 375,000 bartenders and nearly 2 million waiters and waitresses. The men and women of the U.S. Census Bureau wish you a happy, safe, and prosperous new year.

U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for December 31

Fox News: ACORN, Jennings Among Top Stories MSM Missed in '09

If you're not watching Fox News, you don't know what's going on in the world.

Fox News: ACORN, Jennings Among Top Stories MSM Missed in '09

Cultural winners and losers 2009

Check out Brent Bozell's annual compilation of the year's cultural winners and losers at the link below:

No. 1 ... for the 27th time

Here we are at the end of another year and I'm embarrassed to say that for the 27th time in 2009 my blog has reached No. 1 on the Weekly Influence Index.

That is a new record for a Pennsylvania-based blog, breaking the one I set in 2008, which in turn broke the record I set in 2007.

TONY PHYRILLAS has finished No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 in the weekly rankings for 52 consecutive weeks in 2009.

Along the way, I set the record for most consecutive weeks at No. 1 (6 weeks), breaking the record I set last year. At three different times in 2009, I enjoyed streaks of keeping the No. 1 position for four consecutive weeks or more.

I also hold the distinction of having two separate blogs (the other being THE CENTIRST) reach No. 1 in the same year.

Who knows what 2010 will bring, but if there's a BNN Hall of Fame, I'd like to make a claim for induction.

Deficit Claus Rides Again

No more free TV?

A disturbing story by Andrew Vanacore of The Associated Press on the future of television as we know it --
For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer. The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks' programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming.

That will play out in living rooms across the country. The changes could mean higher cable or satellite TV bills, as the networks and local stations squeeze more fees from pay-TV providers such as Comcast and DirecTV for the right to show broadcast TV channels in their lineups. The networks might even ditch free broadcast signals in the next few years. Instead, they could operate as cable channels — a move that could spell the end of free TV as Americans have known it since the 1940s.

"Good programing is expensive," Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox, told a shareholder meeting this fall. "It can no longer be supported solely by advertising revenues."

Fox is pursuing its strategy in public, warning that its broadcasts — including college football bowl games — could go dark Friday for subscribers of Time Warner Cable, unless the pay-TV operator gives Fox higher fees. For its part, Time Warner Cable is asking customers whether it should "roll over" or "get tough" in negotiations.

The future of free TV also could be altered as the biggest pay-TV provider, Comcast Corp., prepares to take control of NBC. Comcast has not signaled plans to end NBC's free broadcasts. But Jeff Zucker, who runs NBC and its sister cable channels such as CNBC and Bravo, told investors this month that "the cable model is just superior to the broadcast model."
Network broadcasters' woes could spell trouble for free TV - The Mercury

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Guinness World Records Reveals Top Records of the Decade

The Public Has Spoken ... Guinness World Records Reveals Fans' Picks for the Top Records of the Decade

Blue Moon

Mike Cronin of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tells you everything you've always wanted to know about a blue boon:
Tonight's blue moon might not be the auspicious start to a new decade that people hope it is.

The month's second full moon could be the devil taunting humanity -- at least that's what Christians believed during the Middle Ages, said Gregory McNamee, who writes for Encyclopedia Britannica.

Medieval Christians used the moon to identify the correct date for Easter, said McNamee, who's based in Tucson.

Each month was supposed to have just one full moon, so the Christians called a second one "belew" -- Middle English for "false" or "betrayer," McNamee said.

"It was like Satan was trying to trick you so you can't celebrate the real date of Christ's Resurrection," he said.

So The Lord of the Bottomless Pit has something in common with the song that begins "Bom-ma-bom, a-bom-bom-a-bom." The Marcels' "Blue Moon" hit No. 1 in 1961.

The moon becomes full a second time this month at 12:13 p.m., Pittsburgh time, today, said Kim Long, author of "The Moon Book" and "The Moon Calendar."
Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Looking forward to 2010

Pennsylvania Game Commission Posts Strategic Plan On Web site

Pennsylvania Game Commission Posts Strategic Plan On Web site

Weis Markets Gives Customers a Break

Weis Markets Lowers Prices on 2,600 Staple Items and Freezes These Lower Prices for 90 Days

Economic Rebound No Sure Thing in 2010, Turnaround Experts Say

Bad news for Barack Obama and his sycophants in the mainstream media from the Turnaround Management Association: Nearly half (49 percent) the respondents to the Turnaround Management Association's distressed industries forecast think durable economic improvement is unlikely until at least the second half of 2010. About three out of 10 think the worst is over, but nearly 20 percent suggest the economy has yet to hit rock bottom.

Economic Rebound No Sure Thing in 2010, Turnaround Experts Say

Sandra Bullock Top Money-Making Star of 2009

Sandra Bullock has been voted the Top Money-Making Star of 2009 in Quigley Publishing Co.'s 78th Annual Poll of Exhibitors.

She is first female to win since Julia Roberts in 1999 to finish No. 1 at the box-office.

Bullock is the eighth woman chosen #1 in the Poll's 78 year history.

She appeared in three films in 2009, the smash hits "The Blind Side" and "The Proposal" ... and "All About Steve."

OK, maybe we should forget about "Steve," one of the most critically-panned films of 2009 and a box-office dud.

Sandra Bullock Top Money-Making Star of 2009

As 2009 Becomes 2010, 21% Will be Asleep

From Rasmussen Reports: At midnight on New Year's Eve, 62% of American adults say they'll be awake to welcome in the new year. But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 21% expect to be sound asleep, while 17% aren't sure if they'll be able to wait up that long.

As 2009 Becomes 2010, 21% Will be Asleep

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Dropping the Ball

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Corbett, 12 other AGs threaten lawsuit against Obamacare

Could the U.S. Supreme Court end up deciding the fate of Obamacare?

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett and 12 other Republican attorney generals have threatened a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Senate health care bill.

In a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said he had "grave concerns" about the deal Senate leaders cut with Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson to secure his crucial vote for the health care package.

"The current iteration of the bill contains a provision that affords special treatment to the state of Nebraska under the federal Medicaid program," writes McMaster. "We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed. As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision."

"In addition to violating the most basic and universally held notions of what is fair and just, we also believe this provision of H.R. 3590 is inconsistent with protections afforded by the United States Constitution against arbitrary legislation," writes McMaster.
Read the full story at

Name That Party

It's amazing how often reporters leave out the party affiliation of Democrats who are caught doing something bad.

Michigan Man's 24th Lawsuit Threatens Family Business

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez Voted Worst Celebrity Couple of the Decade

An online poll at three leading online dating Web sites asked: Who is the worst celebrity couple of the decade?

And the winners are:

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez 50.5%
Jon and Kate Gosselin 11.5%
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline 10.0%
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes 9.5%
Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton 6.0%
Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards 4.5%
Guy Ritchie and Madonna 3.5%
Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson 2.0%
Paris Hilton and Rick Salomon 1.5%
Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen 1.0%

To find out who was selected "Best Celebrity Couple of the Decade" follow the link below:

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez Voted Worst Celebrity Couple of the Decade

RetireSafe: Seniors deserve Social Security COLA

With a 'Zero' Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Just Ahead for 2010, Seniors and Congressman Vow Action

ACLU's Attention to Rights Should Include Gun Rights, Says CCRKBA

ACLU's Attention to Rights Should Include Gun Rights, Says CCRKBA

Top Five Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2009

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has released its Top Five Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2009.

Voters at the Institute's Gave Top "Honor" to a Lawsuit Brought by Illegal Immigrants Who Sued Rancher for Turning Them Over to U.S. Border Patrol.

Read the full list at the link below:

Top Five Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2009 Announced

The Health Care Reform Parachute

Poll: 83% of Small Businesses Say 'No' to Health Care Public Option

Small business owners know Obamacare will put many of them out of business.

83 Percent of Small Businesses Say 'No' to Health Care Public Option

Mother Teresa stamp coming in 2010

Nobel Peace Prize honoree Mother Teresa, legendary actress Katharine Hepburn, Negro Leagues Baseball and Cowboys of the Silver Screen are among the subjects headlining the 2010 stamp program, the U.S. Postal Service announced today.

For more on the new stamps coming in 2010, follow the link below:

2010 Stamp Program Unveiled

Dick Cheney: Obama 'trying to pretend we are not at war'

Dick Cheney calls them as he sees them. Barack Obama is The Great Pretender when it comes to serving as commander in chief of a nation at war, according to the former vice president.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney accused President Barack Obama on Tuesday of "trying to pretend we are not at war" with terrorists, pointing to the White House response to the attempted sky bombing as reflecting a pattern that includes banishing the term "war on terror" and attempting to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

"[W]e are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren't, it makes us less safe," Cheney said in a statement to POLITICO. "Why doesn't he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn't fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency — social transformation — the restructuring of American society."
Read the full story at

Top Ten Lowlights of the New York Times in 2009

The Old Gray Lady ain't what she used to be. Times Watch, an excellent blog that keeps track of the liberal bias at The New York Times, recounts the 10 worst examples of biased coverage by the far left newspaper.

Times Watch's Top Ten Lowlights of the New York Times in 2009 |

Newspaper: Life and death reasons to keep Gitmo open

Investor's Business Daily makes a strong case why the United States needs to keep the military prison at Guantanamo Bay open to house some of the world's most dangerous terrorists. Are you listening Barack Obama?

From a recent IBD editorial:
Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the attempted destruction of Flight 253 were released from Guantanamo two years ago. The case for indefinite detention has been made once again, and not in Illinois.

Sometimes America's chickens do come home to roost. In a statement released Monday, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which counts among its leadership two former Guantanamo detainees, claimed responsibility for the attempted destruction of Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the crotch bomber, told FBI agents he was trained for his Christmas Day mission in Yemen by top leaders of the group who provided him with training and the explosive material needed to bring the passenger jet down. He also told FBI agents that more just like him were in Yemen ready to strike soon.

Two of those leaders — former Guantanamo prisoner No. 333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner No. 372, Said Ali Shari — were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi.
Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

When you put faith in government ...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'The Top 10 Conservatives of 2009'

John Hawkins loves to make lists and he's usually right on the money.

His latest: A list of "The Top 10 Conservatives of 2009" -- you know, the people the mainstream media ignores. (I was little disappointed I didn't make the list, John). The list will surprise you.

From his column:
Let's face it: if you're conservative, you're not going to get your proper due from the mainstream media for your accomplishments. Case in point: Barbara Walters named Michelle Obama the most fascinating person of 2009. Really? Based on what? Her big arms? Her terrible fashion sense? The fact that she's married to the worst President in American history?

I mean, you could understand if Walters named Michelle's husband the most fascinating person of 2009. He is at least the President and it is fascinating to wonder if there's anything going on in his head beyond clichés about hope and "must read teleprompter" repeated over and over.

Of course, Barack Obama was Barbara Walters' most fascinating person of 2008. Wonder who'll be next in 2010? Joe or Jill Biden? In any case, just in case no one else does it, I want to give a little credit where credit is due to some of the conservatives who made a real difference in 2009.
Below is Hawkins list and check out the full column at to find out why they made the Top 10.

10) Andrew Breitbart
9) Marco Rubio
8) Rush Limbaugh
7) Jim DeMint
6) Carrie Prejean
5) Dick Cheney
4) Sarah Palin
3) Glenn Beck
2) James O'Keefe & Hannah Giles
1) The Tea Party Movement

Pat Buchanan: Tea Party movement is now 'America's Party'

Both political parties, but especially the Democrats, have reason to fear the Tea Party movement, argues columnist and political commentator Pat Buchanan.

From a recent Buchanan column:
For Democrats like Harry Reid, who called them "evil-mongers," and Nancy Pelosi, who called them "un-American," the NBC News poll must have hit like a sucker punch at a Georgetown wine-and-cheese.

The Tea Party movement, those folks rallying against spending last spring and Obamacare in the summer town halls, are viewed more favorably than the Democratic Party.

Forty-one percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement, to 35 percent for Obama's party. Only 24 percent view Tea Party activists unfavorably, while 45 percent hold a negative view of the Democrats.

While Tea Party types played a role in the GOP's comeback — helping take down Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey and turning a John McCain deficit of 6 points in the Old Dominion into a 17-point victory for Bob McDonnell — the movement is no subsidiary of the GOP. For it played a major role in routing liberal Republican "Dede" Scozzafava in New York's 23rd and came within a point of electing a third-party conservative.
Read the full column at

Check out John Fogerty's latest: 'The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again'

I've been listening to John Fogerty's latest CD, "The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again" over the past few days.

It's a terrific collection of cover songs with that special Fogerty touch.

If you enjoy traditional country music or Bluegrass, you'll like "The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again."

Standout tracks include John Prine's "Paradise," which I believe was also recorded by The Everly Brothers, "Never Ending Song of Love," a big hit for Delaney & Bonnie & Friends in 1971 and "Moody River," which was a hit by Pat Boone.

I also like "Don't Care (Just As Long As You Love Me)" originally recorded by Buck Owens and "Heaven's Just a Sin Away," a hit by the father-daughter country act The Kendalls.

Fogerty also does a smoking cover version of his own "Change in the Weather" from his "Eye of the Zombie" CD.

The only clunkers on the CD are the two songs that feature big-name guest collaborators. Ricky Nelson's "Garden Party," featuring Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit of The Eagles, is a dull remake that doesn't have any of Nelson's sarcasm in it. The other dull cover is The Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved" (a big hit for Linda Ronstadt in the '70s) featuring Bruce Springsteen, who sounds like he phoned in the vocal.

Still, with 10 good songs, it's worth picking up the CD.

Newspaper blasts 'diva' behavior in PA Legislature

Another sickening example of how the House of Lords operates in Harrisburg.

From the editorial pages of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:


Former aides' grand jury testimony about state Rep. Bill DeWeese's "diva" behavior has nothing to do with his six felony charges of using staff for campaigns. But it does paint a sickening portrait of the haughty mentality that permeates Harrisburg and feeds corruption in state government.

Perhaps Rep. DeWeese, D-Greene County -- a former House speaker and majority and minority leader -- missed his calling. The arbitrary, self-centered nature of the personal tasks he allegedly assigned staffers seems more typical of the excesses associated with rock stars or Hollywood idols.

Staffers balanced DeWeese's checkbook, paid his bills, got cash from ATMs (which he supposedly didn't know how to use), picked up his dry cleaning, and arranged his dinners with lobbyists, plus female company for him at table -- and even bought condoms for him, according to the testimony.

For a man so out of touch with everyday life, could running afoul of that pesky law about separating legislative and campaign work been much of a stretch?

Whether "DivaWeese" represents an aberration or just a difference in degree when it comes to Harrisburg business as usual, such exploitation of staff by a "public servant" to fulfill personal whims is detestable.

Dick Thornburgh: Abolish PA Turnpike Commission

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh, writing at The Commonwealth Foundation Web site, makes a strong case for getting rid of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which he says is "a dumping ground for the institutionalized entitlement."

From Thornburgh's column:
During my campaign for governor more than 32 years ago, I made a pledge to restore integrity and efficiency to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

At the time, 40 percent of our roads and 25 percent of our bridges were in substandard condition. It was widely acknowledged that PennDOT served as a patronage dump; I went so far as to label it the "home of the three Ps – payoffs, patronage and potholes." It was clear that fixing PennDOT was a necessity.

The residents of the commonwealth agreed, having faith in my pledge, and elected me governor. Shortly after beginning my first term, I began a thorough reconstruction of PennDOT.

Working with state Secretary of Transportation (and future Federal Highway Administration head) Tom Larson, I ignored all threats of political retribution and scrubbed PennDOT clean of graft and corruption. The difficult task of fixing PennDOT was a resounding success. In 1981 PennDOT was recognized as "one of the best managed – and financed – public works agencies in the country" by trade magazines.

Larson was recognized by one publication as its Man of the Year. That was nearly 30 years ago.

Today the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) has replaced PennDOT as a dumping ground for the institutionalized entitlement we helped eradicate.
Read the full column, "A Road to Savings: Abolish the PA Turnpike Commission," at The Commonwealth Foundation's Web site.

Who put Barney Fife in charge of homeland security?

What was the worst media malpractice/dereliction in 2009?

What was the worst media malpractice/dereliction in 2009?

Climategate? The lack of coverage of the Tea Parties? Sarah Palin? ACORN?

You can vote on the top choices at

GOP: Obama encouraging terrorists?

Don't say you weren't warned. A vote for Obama/Biden was a vote to weaken America's resolve in the War on Terrorism. Don't you wish you could redo the 2008 election now?

From a story by Glenn Thrush and Martin Kady II on the continued weakness shown by the Obama Administration and how Republicans are capitalizing on the Democrat's Achilles heel:
Republicans have wasted no time in attacking Democrats on intelligence and screening failures leading up to the failed Christmas Day bombing of Flight 253 — a significant departure from the calibrated, less partisan responses that have followed other recent terrorist activity.

The strategy — coming as the Republican leadership seeks to exploit Democratic weaknesses heading into the 2010 midterms — is in many ways a natural for a party that views protecting the U.S. homeland as its ideological raison d'etre and electoral franchise.

President Obama's GOP critics have been emboldened during the past 48 hours by the stumbling initial response of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who spent Monday retracting her Sunday claim that "the system worked" in the aftermath of Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab's near takedown of a jet ferrying nearly 300 people from Amsterdam to Detroit.

"In the past six weeks, you've had the Fort Hood attack, the D.C. Five and now the attempted attack on the plane in Detroit … and they all underscored the clear philosophical difference between the administration and us," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

"I think Secretary Napolitano and the rest of the Obama administration view their role as law enforcement, first responders dealing with the aftermath of an attack," Hoekstra told POLITICO. "And we believe in a forward-looking approach to stopping these attacks before they happen."

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) went even further, telling FOX News that the Christmas attack proved President Obama's talk-to-your-enemies approach might actually be encouraging terrorists.

"[S]oft talk about engagement, closing Gitmo, these things are not going to appease the terrorists," he said. "They're going to keep coming after us, and we can't have politics as usual in Washington, and I'm afraid that's what we've got right now with airport security."
Read the full story at

JibJab - Never a Year Like '09

Time to fire Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano Got a Free Pass When She Insisted Terrorism Be Called 'Man-Caused Disaster' |

Monday, December 28, 2009

Obama vs. The Panty Bomber

Dave Cribbin shines a light on the Obama Administration's inability to protect Americans from Islamic terrorists for fear of offending the Muslim world or the far left that elected him.

From his new column at
Even a hungover, nearsighted, cross-eyed, Spanish Fighting Bull could have seen this guy coming a mile away. Umar the Islamic Jihadist Terrorist, whose actions should have raised more red flags than even the Russian Army owns, tried to blow up a commercial flight to Detroit with a Panty Bomb.

The myriad of red flags, any one of which would have been enough to have prevented you or me from ever boarding our flight, didn't even slow him down as he flew from Nigeria to Amsterdam and then on to Detroit.

Why is it that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a last minute, cash paying customer on an international flight, whose only carry on luggage was his Panty Bomb, was not subject to the same level of scrutiny that I received when I flew from Tampa to Newark NJ to attend my uncle's funeral? This, even though his father had called the US Consulate and warned them that his son was dangerous; a phone call that landed Umar on a terror watch list.

I, on the other hand checked an overnight bag, wasn't on the terrorist watch list, wore only a pair of gym shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops, (Where I might ask was I going to hide a bomb in this outfit?) and carried only my wallet and a cell phone.
Still it was deemed necessary that I undergo enhanced security measures. The reason? I booked the trip late. So what were Umar's excuses? Oh yeah, that's right, he wanted to blow up the plane!

The Obama Administration's Home Land Security Chief, Janet Napolitano, appearing on a Sunday morning news show looked tough in her leather jacket, but acted like a real wimp, suggesting that the government's watch list of over 500,000 names, one of which is Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was just too large to search in an attempt to prevent a terrorist bent on killing all the other passengers on the plane from boarding.

Where do they keep this watch list, and why is it so hard to search? Is it written in crayon, perhaps in poor penmanship on index cards and stored in the bottom of a draw of a desk in a little used basement office of an annex at homeland security? I typed the word terrorist into the Google search engine as I wrote this piece, and it came back with about 37 million entries. How long did it take to perform this search? It took 0.12 seconds. It's not that the list is too long, it's that no one is watching the Watch List. So why do they call it a watch list if they don't watch who is on it?

Our politically correct system of airline screening is a Giant Joke, inconveniencing everyone, yet protecting no one. How can I tell? It's easy. I can't carry sunscreen in my suitcase when I go to Miami, but an Islamic Jihadist from Nigeria on the government's terrorist watch list, a person who's actions should have set off all kinds of alarms, can carry a bomb onto a plane and all they want to know is if he wants the chicken or the vegetarian dinner.
Read the full column, "The Panty Bomber… Place Your Knickers on the Conveyor and Step away from the Machine," here.

Capitol South: New Year's Resolutions

Further evidence Obama is soft on terrorism

It doesn't appear that Barack Obama's Muslim-heritage or his dazzling personality have won the U.S. many friends among the radical Islamic community.

Let's review what Obama has done in the past year to make life easier for Islamic radicals whose stated mission in life is to kill American citizens:

Obama has released dozens of terrorists from Guantanamo and plans to close the military prison entirely.

He intends to bring some of the world's most dangerous terrorists, captured on the battlefield, to United States soil for trial in civilian courtrooms.

He's traveled the world to apologize for U.S. foreign policy and has canceled major weapons system. The groveling hasn't worked, either.

The scheduled surrender in Afghanistan announced recently by our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president hasn't done the trick.

What's it going to take or how many Americans have to die before Barack Obama and his far-left cronies in the White House begin to take terrorism seriously?

The Nigerian man charged with the Christmas Day bombing attempt aboard Northwest Flight 253, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, reportedly spent time in Yemen after graduating from a London university in 2008. According to ABC News, Abdulmutallab has told authorities that, while in Yemen, Al Qaeda operatives crafted the explosive device which was sewn into Abdulmutallab's underwear.

"Yesterday just highlights the fact that sending this many people back — or any people back — to Yemen right now is a really bad idea," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. "It's just dumb… If you made a list of what the three dumbest countries would be to send people back to, Yemen would be on all the lists."

"I think it's a major mistake," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said about prisoner releases to Yemen. "I don't think Guantanamo should be closed, but if we're going to close it I don't believe we should be sending people to Yemen where prisoners have managed to escape in the past… Obviously, if [Abdulmutallab] did get training and direction from Yemen, it just adds to what is already a dangerous situation."
Read the full story, "Xmas bomb bid complicates Gitmo plan," at

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The most expensive state legislature in the country

Columnist Brian O'Neill of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette attempts to explain why the Pennsylvania Legislature is the most expensive in the country.

From his column:
How in the name of all that is holy can you spend $84.5 million in just 101 days?

"It's stunning, isn't it?" state Rep. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat from suburban Philadelphia, replied when I asked.

That's how much America's Largest Full-Time State Legislature spent this past summer and fall while dawdling over the only real job its 253 members have.

That would be passing a budget on time. It came in more than three months late.

The daily tab for tardiness came to almost $837,000. That covered all the costs -- salaries, perks, travel, utilities, printing, mail, phones -- for the House, the Senate, their office staff and the various agencies that support them: the Legislative Budget and Finance Commission, the Legislative Reference Bureau, the Department of Redundancy Department, etc.
Read his full column, "Legislature works at its hardest when taking care of itself," at the newspaper's Web site.

And after you read it, you find your blood pressure reaching the boiling point, just remember that all 203 members of the House and 25 members of the Senate face re-election in 2010. You can do something about it ... but only if you're willing to change the cast of characters currently occupying Harrisburg.

'Avatar' tops $212M at box office

James Cameron's sci-fi epic "Avatar" topped the box office this weekend with an estimated $75 million, beating back strong challenges from "Sherlock Holmes" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" in what was the biggest weekend in box office history.

"Avatar" has grossed an estimated $212.3 million domestically in just two weeks of release, earning back its production costs and putting it at No. 7 on the list of the Top 10 biggest money-makers of the year.

Americans spent an estimated $278 million at the movies over the Christmas weekend. The previous record was set in July 2008, the weekend "The Dark Knight" hit theaters.

The week leading up to Christmas also saw box-office receipts top $10 billion for the first time, making 2009 the biggest year ever for movies.

Here's this weekend's Top 5 films based on studio estimates posted at --

Rank. Movie Title (Distributor)
Weekend Gross | Theaters | Total Gross | Week #

1. Avatar (Fox)
$75.0 million | 3,456 | $212.3 million | 2

2. Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros.)
$65.4 million | 3,626 | $65.4 million | 1

3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox)
$50.2 million | 3,700 | $77.1 million | 1

4. It's Complicated (Universal)
$22.1 million | 2,887 | $22.1 million | 1

5. Up in the Air (Paramount)
$11.8 million | 1,895 | $24.5 million | 4

On Second Thought ...

New Year's Resolutions For Job Seekers

New Year's Resolutions For Job Seekers

Saturday, December 26, 2009

26th Trip to No. 1

For those keeping track, this is the 26th time in 2009 that TONY PHYRILLAS has reached No. 1 on the Weekly Influence Ranking ... setting a new record.

Auditor General Jack Wagner Calls for Passage of Food Safety Legislation

Auditor General Jack Wagner Calls for Passage of Food Safety Legislation After Closure of Capitol Cafeteria

Lockheed Martin Donates $400,000 to Washington Crossing Historical Park

Lockheed Martin Donates $400,000 to Washington Crossing Historical Park

Democrats lifts debt ceiling by $290 Billion

While you were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping, Congressional Democrats voted to raise the national debt ceiling by $290 billion.

If you think those January credit card bills will be a shock, just wait until you get the bill for the Democrats' out-of-control spending.

Senate lifts debt ceiling by $290B - -

Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab ruins Christmas for Obama

Leave it to Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab to ruin Christmas (not to mention the vacation in Hawaii) for Barack Obama.

Democrats were expecting to bask over the holiday with their strong-armed passage of Obamacare, but a Nigerian terrorist spoiled everything by focusing America's attention on the ongoing War on Terror that the Obama Administration spent 10 months pretending didn't exist.

The Fort Hood terrorist attack and the attempted downing of a commercial airplane loaded with holiday travelers are a double-dose of reality in the Neverland that Nobel Peace Prize-winner Barack Obama and his far-left cronies live in.

I guess that plan to bring more than 100 of the world's most dangerous terrorists from Guantanimo to Illinois isn't looking so hot right now.

Congress to investigate Detroit terror bid - -

Top Ten Tweets of 2009

POLITICO recaps the Top 10 political tweets of 2009.

Top Ten Tweets of 2009 - -

Obama Action Figure

Friday, December 25, 2009

Newspaper collects $44,000 for needy

Kudos to everyone at The Pottstown Mercury associated with "Operation Holiday" -- a project the newspaper sponsors every year to help needy families in the Pottstown area.

The newspaper collected more than $44,000 between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The money is used to buy food and gifts for needy families.

In a year of need, Operation Holiday reached higher - The Mercury News: Pottstown, PA and The Tri County areas of Montgomery, Berks and Chester Counties (

Posted using ShareThis

Berks County girl turns belief in St. Nick into musical hit

Video: Girl turns belief in St. Nick into musical hit - The Mercury News: Pottstown, PA and The Tri County areas of Montgomery, Berks and Chester Counties (

Posted using ShareThis

Poll: Just 29% Say U.S. Heading In Right Direction

The American people left a lump of coal in Barack Obama's Christmas stocking this holiday season.

Just 29% say the U.S. is heading in right direction, according to Rasmussen Reports.

And the poll was conducted before the Senate approved the disastrous Obamacare bill that will raise taxes and increase insurance premiums for tens of millions of Americans.

From Rasmussen Reports:
Just 29% of U.S. voters now say the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest level measured since early February, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

The percentage of voters who felt the country is heading in the right direction remained in the narrow range of 31% to 35% from July to early November. For the previous three weeks, however, confidence in the country’s current course has held steady at 30%.

The majority of voters (65%) continue to believe the nation is heading down the wrong track. The latest finding is up slightly from last week and has remained fairly consistent for months. In the weeks just prior to Barack Obama's election, more than 80% of voters felt that way.

This time last year, 17% said the country was heading in the right direction, while 77% said it was heading down the wrong track. Following Obama's inauguration in January, voter confidence in the direction of the country began steadily increasing, peaking at 40% in early May. Since then voter confidence has steadily declined.

Eighty-nine percent (89%) of Republicans and 74% of unaffiliated voters believe the nation is heading down the wrong track, findings that have held roughly steady for months. Democrats are more closely divided on the question: 52% say right direction, 38% say wrong track. Just nine percent (9%) of GOP voters say the United States is heading in the right direction.
Read more at Rasmussen Reports

Mother Teresa on Christmas

"It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you ... yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand."
— Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

Video: Can't Wrap This

H/T Keystone Conservative

Quote of the Day

"Christmas is the day that holds all time together."
— Alexander Smith, Scottish poet and essayist (1830-1867)

I thought Obama solved the terrorism problem

Funny how the Obama Administration won't even use the word terrorism any more.

Remember Obama's Homeland Security Secretary referring to rerrorism as a "Man-Caused Disaster"?

How is the Obama State-Run Media going to explain this one?

Didn't terrorism go away when the beloved Obama was elected president?

Terror attempt on Detroit plane - -

A Musical Christmas Gift

The Christmas Story (From The Gospel According to Luke)

The Christmas story as told in the Gospel According to Luke 2:1-20:

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

"(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

"And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David,)

"To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

"And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

"And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

"And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

"And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

"And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."

'One Solitary Life'

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was 30. Then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth — His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

[Twenty] long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

— This excerpt is from a sermon by Dr. James Allan Francis in "The Real Jesus and Other Sermons," a collection published in 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia.

Come to the Stable

Come to the Stable

By Peg Luksik

When my kids were little, we used to tell them a little bit of the Christmas story every night in December. Each night we would review what had already happened, and then add a piece. Sometimes I would ask them questions to see what they remembered, but sometimes they would ask me questions.

Their questions were usually harder.

One night, one of my sons asked why God let His Son be born in a stable. I said that they were in a stable because there was no room at the inn, and started to talk about making room for Christ in our own lives.

He interrupted me, saying that it was mean for God to let a baby be born in a stable when He had the power to have Jesus be born anywhere. Didn't God love His son very much?

I don't remember what I said that night, but it certainly changed the way I looked at the setting of the Christmas story. Because obviously the stable was not an accidental setting in a birth that had been planned from the beginning of human existence.

So why a stable?

In first century Israel, shepherds were the lowest class of people. They lived with their smelly sheep, and were themselves considered unclean. Shepherds were not allowed into palaces, or manors, or even simple inns. If Christ had been born anywhere BUT in a stable, the shepherds could not have come to see Him.

Stables in those days were not like today's barns. They were usually small caves with low doorways. The small space and low opening helped to keep the interior warm in the cold desert nights at a minimal cost.

To enter the stable, an average person would have to bow his head. It would not have mattered if you were a lowly shepherd or a reigning monarch, you could not get into a stable without bowing.
And since the stable wasn't overly large, you couldn't bring much stuff into it. You might fit, but a trunk full of baggage wouldn't.

So we have the almighty God placing His Son's birth in the only setting where the Savior would be accessible to everybody. It was in a setting where every person who entered the presence of this newborn King would have to bow. And to reach the Child bringing the gifts of peace and salvation you would have to put down whatever else you were clinging to.

It is no longer the first century, so it is easy to overlook how important the setting of the Christmas story is.

The stable tells us that not one of us is too lowly to be welcome. This Savior came for each and every one of us, no matter how "unclean" we may think we are.

It reminds us that we are in the presence of a King, so acknowledging His Lordship over our lives is a necessary part of reaching Him.

It challenges us to put down all the stuff we are clinging to, both material and emotional, to open our hands and our hearts to receive the gifts He offers us. Gifts that are as real and life-changing today as they were on the first Christmas morning.

Christ was not born in a stable because God didn't love His Son, He was born in stable because the Father who sent Him loved us, and was telling us how to respond to that love. In over 2000 years, that message hasn't changed.

Merry Christmas!

Star Trek II: The Wreath of Khan

Just in time for Christmas...

"Ah, Kirk, my old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very December!"

Merry Christmas, to all 'Star Trek' fans out there.


Καλά Χριστούγεννα

To all my Greek friends out there:

"Καλά Χριστούγεννα και ευτυχισμένο το 2010!"

(Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year in 2010)

What Christmas Is All About

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Ghost of Health Care Future

A Visit from St. Nicholas

A Visit from St. Nicholas

'Twas the night before Christmas

When all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And Mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave a luster of midday to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick;

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came.

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!

On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!

Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

With a sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of his pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of the eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew, like a down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

-- Clement Clarke Moore, December 1823

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Originally posted at NEWSEUM

A Christmas carol with Bill DeWeese

See related story, "Grand jury testimony tells of DeWeese's demands on staff," at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Web site.

Jim Matthews denies wrongdoing in insurance choice

Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews has stepped in it again, awarding a $3 million county contract to a firm that contributed generously to his last political campaign.

From an article by Keith Phucas in today's edition of The Pottstown Mercury:
NORRISTOWN — Facing increased scrutiny over Montgomery County's decision to self insure employees and questions about the county's dealings with a health benefits consultant, CBIZ, that contributed to his campaign, commissioners' Chairman James R. Matthews denies he's done anything wrong.

The commissioners voted 2-1 in November for the county to insure employees next year, after Blue Cross notified officials the company had lost about $6 million covering the county staff and would no longer provide coverage. Instead, the insurer with be the county plan's administrator.

"They were whacked last year and didn't want to get whacked again," Matthews said Tuesday. "They're going from being gamblers to being managers."

Matthews and Commissioner Joseph M. Hoeffel voted for the self insurance plan; Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. voted no and wanted to know more about the insurers' plans who refused to give the county price quotes.
Phucas notes that Matthews received six contributions from CBIZ employees totaling just over $23,000 on Oct. 9, 2007, during his last campaign for county commissioner.

Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Democrats For Sale

Newspaper collects $40,000 for needy families

A program designed to raise money to buy food and gifts to needy families in the Pottstown area raised more than $40,000 this year.

"Operation Holiday" is sponsored each year by The Mercury, which collects the money, purchases the food and gift cards for the families, packages everything and delivers the much-needed assistance in time for Christmas every year.

Newspaper staff volunteer their time so there is no administrative cost: Every dollar raised by "Operation Holiday" goes directly to needy families.

While there was concern that this would be a tough year for fundraising because of the lingering recession, readers of The Mercury came through again with their generous donations.

Read more about the project at the newspaper's Web site.

Check out a video of the packing of the food for 200 families here.

What the Gimme Got for Christmas!

Carter Clews offers an instant Christmas classic in his tale of the Gimme posted at, the Web site of Americans for Limited Government.

Here's how the story begins:
Once upon a time, not too long ago, in a land where each of us has often been, there lived a very strange, yet vaguely familiar-looking character. He was not too big, but not too small. Not too short, but not too tall. He had big, over-sized hands, a terribly undersized heart, and, I'm afraid, a very sour-puss face.

Yes, it was true. He was one of those terribly rude, often crude, rarely good creatures known as a Gimme.

This Gimme, as it turns out, lived in a big old mansion on the top of the town's highest hill. It was often said among the townspeople that the mansion at one time had been the grandest, happiest home in the village – cool in the summer and warm in the winter, with huge brick fireplaces that heated every room with the warm fragrance of burning, crackling logs.

Now, however, since Mr. Gimme had lived in the house, it was old and crickety, with such high grass and thick vines that it really resembled very strongly a deep, dark cave – with Mr. Gimme as its hermit.

And what a sad, grouchy old hermit Mr. Gimme was. He would yell, and he would holler, and he'd pinch every dollar 'til you’d almost hear the poor thing scream for help. It was said that when old Mr. Gimme went to the store to buy things, he'd never be polite, but would bark out angrily, "Gimme this and gimme that, or I'll hit you with my hat!"
Check out What the Gimme Got for Christmas! at

Jack Bauer interrogates Santa

Why bribe Democrats to 'reform' health care?

If Democrats are doing something good for the country, why did the party bosses have to spend so much taxpayer money to bribe Democratic members of Congress into voting for the "health care reform" bill? Just wondering.

Consumer Watchdog: Democrats Sell Out American People on Health Care

Historic Expansion of Health Insurance Coverage Cedes Control to Medical/Insurance Industries

Christmas Message from Sam Rohrer

FRC Statement on the Christmas Eve Passage of the Health Care 'Reform' Bill

FRC Statement on the Christmas Eve Passage of the Health Care 'Reform' Bill

Senate Democrats OK $290B more in deficit spending

The bottomless pit known as the federal deficit just got bigger thanks to free-spending Congressional Democrats. Somebody take away their credit cards!

Senate lifts debt ceiling by $290B - -

Democrats deliver lump of coal to American people

Senate passes historic health bill - -

Poor Tiny Tim

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Video: Why We Need to Change the Political System

PA extends Emergency Unemployment Compensation, COBRA

From the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor:
Governor Edward G. Rendell today said Pennsylvanians who are out of work through no fault of their own now may qualify for two more months of emergency unemployment compensation and health care coverage through the COBRA premium reduction.

Legislation signed by President Obama on Dec. 19 extends the qualification period for federal emergency unemployment compensation, or EUC, and the $25 weekly Federal Additional Compensation payment through Feb. 28, 2010. The continuation of the EUC program allows eligible Pennsylvanians to apply for six additional weeks of benefits that had been included in previous legislation.

Individuals who believe they qualify should simply continue filing their biweekly claims. Claimants will be contacted by the Department of Labor & Industry if any additional information is needed.

Individuals who exhaust their maximum of 26 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits by Feb. 20, 2010, may qualify for EUC benefits. The maximum amount of EUC benefits an individual can receive is 53 weeks. The last payable week of EUC benefits is the week ending July 31, 2010.

After exhausting EUC benefits, individuals may be eligible to receive a maximum of 20 weeks of state extended benefits. Overall, Pennsylvanians now may be eligible for total of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. Additional information is available online at

The federal legislation also extended the eligibility period for the COBRA premium reduction through Feb. 28, 2010, and expanded from nine to 15 months the maximum period for receiving the subsidy.
For more information, click here.

Christmas Card From The ACLU

Poll: 87% say U.S. still in recession, 51% expect recovery after 2010

Next time you hear Barack Obama or one of his sycophants tell you the recession is over, you have my permission to smack them upside the head.

From StrategyOne:
Of the 1,000 Americans surveyed by telephone over the weekend by polling firm StrategyOne, nearly 9 in 10 Americans (87%) believe the US is still in a recession and 3 in 4 (78%) disagree with economic experts that the US is no longer in a recession.

Despite increasingly positive talk from experts about the health of economy, just 1 in 4 (26%) believe the economy will recover fully by the end of 2010. Instead, the majority of Americans - 51% - believe the economy won't fully recover and be back on track until sometime until the end of 2011 - or even 2012. A frighteningly high 15% believe the economy will never fully recover.
Read more poll findings at the link below:

StrategyOne Survey: Majority of Americans Say Economic Recovery Years Away, Wholeheartedly Reject Experts' View 'the Recession Is Over'

Consider All Factors Before Buying, Adopting Pets During Holiday Season

Although many people dream of finding a puppy or other new pet under the tree, Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today urged consumers to give careful consideration before buying or adopting pets during the holidays.

"Bringing a pet home or giving a pet as a gift comes with a high level of responsibility and a long-term commitment, and that important message should not be lost in the rush of the holiday season," said Redding. "Those who are giving or know they are receiving a pet should work to ensure the new pet is going to a home that is fully prepared for the animal and educated about the pet's needs."

Read the full release at the link below:

PA Agriculture Secretary: Consider All Factors Before Buying, Adopting Pets During Holiday Season

Meet Obama-Claus

Doctors Speak Out Against Obamacare

Originally posted at THE CENTRIST

U.S. Senate: 'Naughty or Nice' This Season?

Terri McCormick, author of the book "What Sex is a Republican?" and a Republican candidate in Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District, makes the following observations about the bribes used by Democratic leadership to get 60 votes for Obamacare in the U.S. Senate:
In the rush to pass the so-called "healthcare reform bill," U.S. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) stomped his feet and held his breath until he extracted his presents from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. One such gift exempts Nebraska from paying the $45 million increase in Medicaid imbursement costs. Nelson was the 60th Democrat to get his stocking stuffed.

Smart parents know not to give in to spoiled children trying these shenanigans. If we gave kids everything they demanded, our family budget would be as busted as last year's toy under the couch. You know, the one with batteries that are only made in China.

Each of us will soon pay for the Senate's extravagant spending. In Senator Nelson's case, his Nebraska voters will be exempted from the substantial cost increases generated by new Medicare patients mandated by this plan. Wisconsin taxpayers will foot the bill not only for the additional costs for Wisconsinites, but for Nebraskans, too.

Senator Reid is like the parents that give their screaming kids everything they ask for.
Read her full statement at the link below:

U.S. Senate: 'Naughty or Nice' This Season?

Also check out her Web site,

What Obama Wants This Christmas

The Worst Scandal of 2009: Big Money in Politics

The Worst Scandal of 2009: Big Money in Politics

Democrats fret over defection

Will more Democ-rats jump ship as we head into the 2010 elections?

Depends if they want to save their political careers as Capt. Nancy Pelosi orders the Democ-rats' ship of state full speed ahead toward the icebergs.

"I just think it really shows the moderates feel they don’t have a voice in the party; they don't like where we are going as a party, and that should be troubling for Democrats," said another senior Democratic strategist. "Less than a year into a Washington that is controlled by Democrats, they've lost hope, they feel disillusioned, and they don’t think there's anything to stick around for."
Alabama slammer: Democrats fret over Parker Griffith - -

A liberal at the New York Times?

No Surprise: NY Times Supreme Court Reporter Linda Greenhouse Donated to Obama Campaign |

Office Gift Exchange

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rasmussen Poll tracks new low for Obama

If Santa Claus represented the American people, he'd leave lump of coal under Barack Obama's tree this Christmas.

From Rasmussen Reports:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 25% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-six percent (46%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21 That's the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of men Strongly Disapprove along with 39% of women. Most African-American voters (58%) Strongly Approve while most white voters (53%) Strongly Disapprove.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans Strongly Disapprove as do 52% of unaffiliated voters. Forty-seven percent (47%) of Democrats Strongly Approve.

For the second straight day, the update shows the highest level of Strong Disapproval yet recorded for this President. That negative rating had never topped 42% before yesterday. However, it has risen dramatically since the Senate found 60 votes to move forward with the proposed health care reform legislation. Most voters (55%) oppose the health care legislation and senior citizens are even more likely than younger voters to dislike the plan.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve.

Overall, 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Fifty-six percent (56%) now disapprove.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Democrats approve while 88% of Republicans and 62% of unaffiliated voters disapprove.
For more analysis, check out Rasmussen Reports here.

NASA Selects Pennsylvania Teacher to Inspire Next Generation Explorers

Karen Roark, ROAN School teacher in Dalton, Pa., has been awarded a fellowship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NASA Selects Pennsylvania Teacher to Inspire Next Generation Explorers

Another 'Updated' Christmas Song

Democratic Senator Hides From Constituents

Senator Landrieu Closes Office: Constituents Turned Away at the Door, Callers Reach Only Busy Signals

SpongeBob SquarePants Rules!

Nickelodeon Is 2009's Top-Ranked Cable Network

House Dem blames leaders for party switch

Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday that he's switching parties – saying he can no longer align himself "with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy and drives us further and further into debt."

"Unfortunately there are those in the Democratic Leadership that continue to push an agenda focused on massive new spending, tax increases, bailouts and a health care bill that is bad for our healthcare system," Griffith said in a statement. "I have always considered myself to be an independent voice and I have tried to be that voice in Congress – but after watching this agenda firsthand I now believe that the differences in the two parties could not be more clear and that for me to be true to my core beliefs and values I must align myself with the Republican party and speak out clearly on these issues."

Griffith's party switch comes on the eve of a pivotal congressional health care vote and will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members who, like Griffith, hail from districts that offer prime pickup opportunities for the GOP in 2010.
Read the full story at the link below:

House Dem blames leaders for party switch - -

How The Grinch Stole Health Care

500,000 doctors oppose Obamacare

Who you gonna trust with your family's health care? Harry Reid and Barack Obama or your doctor?

More than 500,000 U.S. doctors oppose the Obamacare bill about to be rammed through the U.S. Senate.

To date 43 state, county and national medical societies, representing nearly one‐half million physicians, have stated their public opposition to the Senate healthcare overhaul bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). It is time for Congress to slow down, take a step back, and change the direction of current reform efforts to ensure that it is done right!
For more information, visit

Senate Health Bill Remains a High-Cost Minefield for Small Business

America's small businesses, the backbone of the U.S. economy, will take a direct hit from Obamacare, according to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

The SBE Council says the latest version of the Senate health care bill continues to ignore the plight of U.S. small businesses, and instead burdens them with additional taxes and regulations that will drive business costs higher.

"Rather than moving in a direction that heeds the concerns of small business, the Senate health bill imposes an even higher tax burden on our sector while retaining other tax, regulatory and compliance measures that will drive business and health coverage costs higher," SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan in a prepared statement.

According to SBE Council, the "manager's amendment" put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raises the Medicare payroll tax higher (from 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent), and exposes small businesses in the construction industry to a punishing employer mandate that will cripple this already hurting sector. The bill singles out the construction industry by not exempting businesses in this sector from the "play-or-pay" employer mandate that other firms with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from (although it does exempt construction firms with five employees or less). The latest Reid bill also increases the individual mandate penalty/tax, which will hit the self-employed, and maintains an array of other tax hikes and regulatory requirements that will drive up the cost of health coverage for small business.

Read the full SBE Council release at the link below:

Senate Health Bill Remains a High-Cost Minefield for Small Business

PA Initiative to Kick-Start Housing Recovery

Governor Rendell Announces Initiative to Kick-Start Housing Recovery

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Pennsylvania has lost more than 105,000 jobs in the past year alone, so why is Ed Rendell in such a hurry to lay off more state workers?

Taht's what columnist Kevin Cramsey is wondering, too.

From a new column at Harrisburg
The administration's head count is something like 721, but it doesn't include 60 or so who were offered up from the treasury and another 100-150 teachers, administrators and others who were cast out when Rendell ordered the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to shutter the Scotland School for Veterans Children. There's probably more casualties out there if look hard enough.

Curiously, though the governor fusses and worries about state revenues being down due to a bad economy, he's willing to worsen the state's unemployment picture by putting even more people out of work and overtaxing the state's unemployment compensation fund.
Read the full column at the link below:

Rendell to ring in new year with layoffs?

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